NSHMBA Brillante Award at the National Conference in Minneapolis

At the 2009 NSHMBA National Conference in Minneapolis, I received the NSHMBA Brillante Award for Member Service Excellence from emcee Maria Celeste Arraras (host of Al Rojo Vivo con Maria Celeste on Telemundo/NBC).

According to the NSHMBA website, “this is the most prestigious honor granted by the organization, and is given to bright, radiant, and shining leaders whose work and contributions reflect NSHMBA’s mission “to foster Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development in order to improve society”. This was my first nomination for the award, and I was honored to have received this award based on both my professional accomplishments and more than a decade of leadership in the Hispanic community driving initiatives to improve educational and career opportunities.

I could not have received this award without the help of many individuals along the way, so I would like to thank some of them here:

First, my wife, Christine Chen. Running the Seattle Chapter as President these past two years is akin to having a second full-time job, and working at Microsoft is already more than a full-time commitment. She has been extremely supportive of the amount of time and energy that I devote to the organization and to Microsoft, and has even volunteered to serve on the NSHMBA Board to show her support and provide her expertise to advance the mission of the chapter. Had she not been so supportive, I would not have continued to grow the chapter to what is has become, so she is most directly responsible for the success that I have achieved. I cannot thank her enough.

Second, to the NSHMBA Seattle Board Members, volunteers, and student liaisons, who volunteer their time to drive our mission and grow our chapter. I am very grateful for the amount of their own personal time that they sacrifice for the benefit of others. Among this group, I would like to commend a few exceptional individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty:

  • Fernanda Badano – one of my original fellow cofounders of the NSHMBA Seattle Chapter in 2005, Fernanda has worked tirelessly and non-stop during our rapid growth in several different roles. As VP of Events, she spearheaded our expansion from one event a quarter, to, at times, up to 3-4 events per month. We would not be able to sustain this growth without her dedication and leadership.
  • Sandra Rivera – a fairly recent transplant to Seattle from Texas, Sandra jumped right into volunteerism with the Seattle board when she arrived. As VP of Marketing, she has brought structure, process, and creativity to our marketing efforts and has been instrumental in the phenomenal growth in attendance and awareness of our organization. We have gained the shining star of Texas with her arrival.
  • Hector Torres – another original fellow cofounder, Hector has touched, formatted, compiled, assembled, and more practically every bit of communication that has ever gone out from the NSHMBA Seattle Chapter. If that’s not amazing enough, he doesn’t even live in Seattle yet contributes an incredible amount of his time to sustain and grow the chapter. Hector has also become another indispensable member of the board.
  • Miguel Gil – translating his experience in finance at Microsoft into the CFO role for NSHMBA Seattle has enabled us to do an outstanding job in forecasting, budgeting, and accounting. I’d be lost in a financial quagmire for the chapter if it weren’t for Miguel.
  • Anthony Garcia – driving our efforts with collegiate partners as VP of Education, Anthony has enabled us to reach out to the many MBA programs in Washington and Oregon, extending our reach and awareness well beyond our founding university partner, UW.
  • Evelyn Martinez – the first volunteer for the pilot Student Liaison Program for NSHMBA Seattle, Evelyn has brought to life everything we hoped the program would be, and has helped us a firm foothold in the state of Oregon, encouraging talks about expanding the chapter beyond Washington.

The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, October 10, 2009 shortly after the end of the NSHMBA National Career Expo. I had spent the previous two days at the Microsoft booth helping the MBA recruiting team talk to prospective candidates. The Brillante Awards ceremony was a very nice ending to a great conference. In lieu of acceptance speeches, the NSHMBA team selects a topic that helped the recipient receive their award. My topic was the student liaison program (which I blogged about previously).

After the awards ceremony, the entire audience was treated to a concert by Latin-Grammy awarding winning singer, Alejandro Fernandez. Post-party salsa dancing at Picosa was difficult to get into, but a great time nonetheless. Overall, I had a fantastic time and will cherish the memories and the award for many years to come. Below are some pictures of the event (with the Student Liaisons and with my wife).

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